Le Bretón, Tomás Alberto (1868–1959)

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Le Bretón, Tomás Alberto (1868–1959)

Tomás Alberto Le Bretón (b. 1868; d. 1959), Argentine politician and statesman. Born in Buenos Aires, Le Bretón trained as a lawyer at the university there and received his degree in 1891. He became a specialist in patent law and used this expertise to represent Argentina at the 1904 Berlin Industrial Property Congress as well as at a subsequent congress in Stockholm. Although Le Bretón is now remembered mostly for his dominant role in Radical Party politics after his election to the Chamber of Deputies in March 1914, he was also instrumental in promoting land colonization in the Chaco region as part of a process of government support for the nascent cotton industry there. He probably became interested in the matter as a member of the Administrative Commission of Land and Colonies in 1920, but he did not become officially active in this regard until 1923, following a term in the United States (1919–1922) as Argentine ambassador. As minister of agriculture from 1922 to 1925 he thoroughly reorganized the ministry, paying particular attention to the prospects of cotton cultivation. Le Bretón contracted with U.S. agronomist Dr. Ernest Tutt to provide the most modern agricultural and marketing information. These resources, along with the opening of government lands to settlers and provision by the government of free cotton seed to farmers, together served to promote the rapid development of this industrial fiber.

Le Bretón's links to the Antipersonalist Radical Civic Union led to his reentry into politics. In later years the conservative governments of General José Augustín P. Justo and Roberto M. Ortiz appointed him to several important diplomatic posts. In 1936 Le Bretón was called upon to represent Argentina in commercial negotiations with Great Britain. He also served as Argentine ambassador to Great Britain from 1938 to 1941.

See alsoArgentina: The Twentieth Century; Cotton.


Additional Bibliography

Persello, Ana Virginia. El partido radical: Gobierno y oposición, 1916–1943. Buenos Aires: Siglo veintiuno editores Argentina, 2004.

                                              Donna J. Guy